Throughout history and around the world people have mourned the death of their loved ones. It is natural to grieve for someone you care about.
Unfortunately, over the last century, attempts have been made by professionals in the field to categorize bereavement and explain grieving as a linear process with specific stages. As a result, individuals now worry they are not getting bereavement ‘right’ or fear they are grieving in the ‘wrong’ way.
Family and friends then start to worry if someone appears not to be ‘getting over’ a loss. In reality the individual is most likely conflicted by feeling the need to be ‘over it’ but believing that doing so means they must forget the person who has died. Science can be accused of trying to ‘medicalise’ mourning as something which has to be done ‘right’ and, if not, it must be dealt with.
It’s symptomatic of our modern culture to try to control something which has the potential to make you uncomfortable. As a society, there is now an emphasis on being solution focused and, as a result, people are losing the ability to cope with when a) someone dies or b) someone is grieving. How can you focus on a solution to loss when, in that moment, there is no silver lining?
The reality is that everyone is different and there is no ‘time to grieve’.
In many cultures, death can be understood as something which is accepted as part of life. It is acknowledged that there are emotions which you may experience following a bereavement such as denial, shock, anger, guilt, sadness and elation but that you will dip in and out of these over an unspecified period of time (you may not feel these at all but something else).
Talking about the loss of someone you love allows you to process what happened and how you feel about it. Sometimes, even when the death is expected, there remain many unanswered questions and having someone to explore those with allows you to accept the loss whilst honouring the memory of that person. In a way, you can remain connected to them but in a way which is helpful – and healthy – to you.
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